Delivery Wagon Plans
Delivery Wagon Plans
At one of our auctions I purchased a copy of a 1911 edition of The Blacksmith and Wheelwright which featured a set of plans for a Delivery Wagon. Few categories of horsedrawn vehicles generate as much excitement as a true commercial delivery wagon. I wish we had more opportunities to run them through our auction sales as they bring with them such a delightful mix of history and practicality. So we offer this plan and notes with hopes that the wagon builders out there will more frequently revisit this excellent form. It is noteworthy that the author of this plan speaks so well of the innovations this design represents, innovations which vastly improved the utility of the vehicle. This discussion speaks to the elegance of engineering design prevalent 100 years ago. – LRM
Useful Vehicle for Bakers, Milkmen, Grocers or General Purpose.
The length of city bakers’ and milk delivery wagon bodies is generally 7 feet; width across 42 inches and the 36 inch wheels turn under the body, making the height of the body from the floor 40 inches. Which gives about 3 1/2 inches space between body and wheels when the 1/2 inch thickness of tire is deducted.
The objection to these wagons for general delivery purposes is that they are too short and are suspended too high for getting in and out and on this account the “low down” milk, bakers’ and butchers’ delivery wagons were designed and built. While the low down delivery wagon is an improvement, the objectionable features are increased. Suppose the low down body is designed with a regular wagon gear as shown on this working draft and the wheels have to turn under the body, with a five feet wide track, the required space is about 36 inches and if the gear is set in 2 to 3 inches from the front end of the body the space must be 38 to 39 inches, making the length of the gear from center to center 6 feet 10 inches as on this draft while on a city Bakers’ delivery wagon the length of the gear is 5 ft. only. Suppose we carry this gear back, the wheels will strike against the body and will not turn short sufficiently for the width of the street. Suppose we put on high wheels and put under it a short turn fifth wheel with the king bolt set back 15 inches or more, it would turn shorter but not short enough for a 45 inch wide body. All these objections are avoided if we remove the drop center, but then the body will be too high from the floor and two steps are needed on each side for going in and out.
To shorten the frontgear is impracticable, but the rear gear could be moved somewhat toward the front. If the rear part be suspended on elliptical springs, the wheels could be moved forward 6 inches, the length of the gear could be reduced to 6 feet 4 inches, and the length of the body could be reduced to 7 feet or 7 feet 6 inches. The objections are in this case if the body is not shortened it will have too much overhang, and if shortened it will have a cut-off appearance, or in other words, it will destroy the proportions of the body.
Another disadvantage is the expense of building the low down bodies compared with the straight sill structures. If the low down bodies are built without any edge plates applied to the inside or outside of sills, the bodies are not strong enough to carry the weight, and will sag at the center. With a straight sill, no edge plates are necessary and it will carry the necessary weight, but with all those objections the low down wagons increase every year. Their convenience outweighs all other objections. They are handy for country delivery and are fitted up inside to suit either grocers, bakers, butchers or milk delivery, or a combination of the four.
Construction of the Body
The height of the body from the floor in front is 39 inches, and the amount of drop 15 inches, making the height from the floor to door rocker 24 inches; easy to go in and out with one step on each side. The rear drop is 8 inches and could be 2 to 3 inches less by dropping the spring bar and cross spring. The length of the body is divided as follows: the front length is calculated to turn under the body 35 inches. The width of the door is 19 inches, and rear and front door joint to the rear end, 45 inches. This length could be reduced by using a spring shorter than 43 inches. In such a case lower rear wheels must be used, because moving the wheels forward would interfere with the opening of the door.